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In October 2022, Julie Lingham was shortlisted for the CATS Personal Development Award and attended the awards lunch and ceremony at Newmarket Racecourse.

Julie received the recognition having used the Careers Advice and Training Service (CATS) to help her land her dream job as an Equine Welfare Integrity Officer (EWIO) earlier in the year. Julie shares her story about how, aged 52, she came to use the service after being made redundant.

Julie explains: “I’d just been made redundant after twelve years in a role I really enjoyed. I’d always been interested in the EWIO role with the BHA, but those jobs very rarely come up.

“I spoke to Michelle Douglas from Careers in Racing and told her that I was interested in pursuing a career as an EWIO. She asked me about my CV, and I realised I’d not touched it for probably around 20 years!”

Julie’s conversation with Michelle led to her being signposted to Racing Welfare’s Careers Advice and Training Service.

She said: “I hadn’t heard of CATS before, but Michelle put me through to Zoe Hendricks who was fantastic. Between them they agreed that a shadowing day with the BHA’s EWIO team could be beneficial for me. Michelle arranged it and Zoe advised that I complete this before putting my CV forward for any jobs.”

It was at this point that an opening for the EWIO position became available, and Julie was interested in putting herself forward for the role. She worked with Zoe to prepare her CV and explains how this support armed her with the tools she needed and enabled her to prepare the best possible application for the role.

Julie said: “Zoe gave me tips – she didn’t do my CV for me – she pointed me in the right direction. I’d send it back to her and she’d say, ‘that’s better but try this…’. That was a good thing for me, it made me think. She let me know the areas I needed to work on a bit more, gave me some ideas, then left it to me. She was there all the time; she was such a good back-up – absolutely brilliant. I couldn’t thank her enough, I really couldn’t.”

Julie was subsequently invited for interview and offered the job, with her employers commenting explicitly on the quality of her CV.

Though it wasn’t just the practical help that Julie found useful, she also explains how being made redundant had knocked her confidence: “I loved my previous job, but after 12 years I’d done all I could do there and was kind of living in a bubble, feeling as though I’d lost touch with things a little. We can all get a bit stuck or complacent… it really did hit me, being made redundant, I didn’t see it coming. I’d lost my confidence a bit, which I don’t think I’d ever felt before. You do think whether age is against you when you are going for a job at my age, that’s why I felt my CV had to be spot on. This experience has given me my confidence back, without a doubt, I’m back to my old self.”

Julie is resounding in her praise for CATS and Zoe Hendricks, explaining that she is not sure whether she’d be in the job today without that support.

She said: “I honestly do believe that the support of CATS had a massive impact on me getting the job, I’m not even sure I’d have got to the interview stage without the CV and advice I received, plus the confidence boost. Getting this job has massively opened the door for me – it has been the best thing for me. I love it – it’s great being back out there and seeing people that you’ve worked with in the past.

“I’m probably at my happiest that I have been for a long time. It’s come at the right time; I can’t thank CATS enough.”